A White House reporter apologized to President Donald Trump on Tuesday for misreading testing numbers in the Oval Office.
During the Oval Office press availability, Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker asked the president why South Korea had more tests per capita than the United States.
“I don’t think that’s true,” Trump said, asking Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx to clarify the numbers.
“To the Yahoo gentleman, I just want to make it clear that South Korea’s testing was 11 per 100,000, and we’re at 17 per 100,000,” she said later in the press availability.
“Are you going to apologize Yahoo?” Trump asked. “That’s why you’re Yahoo … that’s why nobody knows who you are, including me.”
As Walker tried to continue his line of questioning, Birx said, “Just check it again.”
“You ought to get your facts right,” Trump said. “Your facts are wrong.”
After the press availability, Walker publicly apologized on Twitter.
We have passed South Korea in the number of tests conducted per capita. I misread the mobile version of this chart and am sorry about that @realDonaldTrump . Our infection rate is far higher though as I noted.
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) April 28, 2020
Walker also sent an email to his fellow reporters at the White House:
Your pooler asked the president why South Korea has done more tests per capita and has a far lower infection rate.
Dr. Birx later corrected us to note the US has done more tests, per capita, than South Korea. She was correct and your pooler was not. The US passed the per capita number of tests conducted in South Korea earlier this month. However, South Korea does have a far lower infection rate. Your pooler is sorry for the error about the test rates.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer praised Walker for admitting he was wrong and apologizing.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) April 28, 2020
At a later event on Tuesday, President Trump thanked Walker for the apology.
“Thank you for the apology. I appreciate it. That was very nice,” he said. “Yahoo. I appreciate it. That was very nice.”